Richard Bent

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Artist’s Statement

I have spent morethan half my life wrestling with bars of steel at insane temperatures. Traditionally, blacksmiths have been trained by being apprenticed to a master-blacksmith, but my skills have been gained by trial and error, as a self taught ‘smith.

In my early days, I was a slave to tradition, until I was introduced to the Art Nouveau architecture of Victor Horta and Hector Guimard, plus large doses of Charles Rennie Macintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright. I was inspired to look outside of blacksmithing, towards all manner of arts and crafts, to steal with my eyes.

I realised that British blacksmithing lacked innovation, so I set about producing work which I would design and make, not from a two- dimensional perspective, but to work in 3-D, to create spacial awareness using the medium of hot forged (hammered) metal. At the same time, I was aware of the difficulties artists were experiencing in using steel as a material for sculpture, due to the need for complex workshop techniques and equipment. So I set about bringing art to blacksmithing and taking blacksmithing skills to art.

I freed myself from the shackles of traditional blacksmithing, in order to create, rather than just make, in the way previous generation of blacksmiths had done.

I wanted to be an artist blacksmith, not merely a technician in metal, to take blacksmithing to a higher level.

I was spurred on by the quotation attributed to Henry Ford ( in abridged form)

“Tradition is bunk, history is bunk! The only history of note, is that which we make today!”
Visits
Visits to my workshop are preferably by appointment.
Address
Bickleigh Farm, 
Halwell, 
Devon,